I can confidently say that I will never have a Super Bowl experience like the one I had last night. I am currently studying abroad in Ireland and watched the game in a pub with a bunch of drunken Irish people who could not understand the game. I guess I didn’t need to add that they were drunk. That probably should be assumed. But it was funny to hear the Europeans cheer for something they really did not care about. Meanwhile, I was that loser sitting in the corner actually watching the game. It’s the Super Bowl! What do you expect?
If I didn’t partake in loserdom last night, then I wouldn’t be able to write this eloquent reaction article. And what would all you Juicers do if that were the case? Okay, maybe you would be fine, but whatever. You are reading it now so let’s stop wasting time with irrelevant introductions and get straight to business.
Although I was up until 3:30 am watching the game, due to Ireland’s five hour time difference, I have more than enough energy to write about this unbelievable game. It’s not the best Super Bowl I have ever watched (that has to go to the Patriots vs. Rams in 2001 and the Steelers vs. Cardinals in 2008), but it was, nonetheless, as exhilarating as ice fishing. It had so many storylines and all of them and more were fulfilled. Let’s break this game down by different story lines with things I noticed throughout the game.
— Joe Flacco: As my good friend R. Keith asserted when we found out the Super Bowl matchup, the 49ers and Ravens proved that the days of needing an elite quarterback to make the Super Bowl are over. Well, Joe Flacco and the Ravens proved that there is no need to have an elite quarterback if you want to win the Super Bowl, either. Don’t get me wrong: Joe Flacco was fantastic in the Super Bowl and the playoffs as a whole. He has proven that he is a great quarterback in this league. Elite? Not so much. Other than his perfect passes in the red zone to Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, the majority of his passes were deep balls that we know he is good at. What we don’t know is the consistency of his ability to throw the mid to short routes.
There were multiple throws in the game where it was obvious that Flacco simply threw the ball up and prayed that his receivers (usually Boldin) would come down with it. And they usually did. That’s great if it works, but I can’t call a quarterback who relies that much on his receivers elite. Never mind his receivers, his offensive line and running game are as strong as it gets, as well. Flacco deserves all the credit in the world, as he has gone from Division 1-AA at the University of Delaware to a much-deserved Super Bowl MVP, but that does not automatically equate to elite. We have to slow the reactionary syndrome train.
— Colin Kaepernick: I was really pulling for this kid. His NFL story is so unbelievable and it made sense that his magical season would end up with a championship, but this is sports, where making sense does not happen. From throwing the football like a baseball to running the ball faster than the 49ers’ running back (how did Gore not score on that last run? He had everyone beat!), Kaep has impressed us all. For the first time that I have watched, Kaep and the offense looked out of sync in the beginning. He threw that interception to Ed Reed, which appeared to be a mechanical issue more than anything, and the running game was nonexistent.
Once the power went out, Kaep turned it on and showed us why we fell in love with him in the first place. What we can take away from this game is that Kaep is going to be an elite quarterback in this league in a couple years and part of the pioneer team of quarterbacks that can run at an elite level AND pass at an elite level. Anyone who disputes his passing ability can’t be watching the same game I am. Even on non-completions, Kaep was right on the money. Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis both missed deep connections that landed right in their hands. Although Kaepernick was amazing this season, there was one main lesson we learned last night: there is only one Tom Brady. Think about it.
— Power surge: How does this happen? In the Super Bowl? In a venue that holds many different major championships every season? I get it if it happens in a regular season game, but this is the Super Bowl. They should have had everything prepared. I’m not too familiar with power surges and how they work, but even if it was out of anyone’s control, it should not have taken 30 minutes for them to get it back up. Every other time something like this happens, it takes far less time to get back on the field. And this was the Super Bowl! I, for one, was upset, as was John Harbaugh. He knew that it was going to be the turning point for a 49ers team that needed a kick in the butt. In other news, it was the first 3rd quarter report in Super Bowl history. We watched history, people!
— Ed Reed interception: How awesome was it to see Reed get an interception in maybe his last Super Bowl? He is the best safety I have ever seen play and deserves all of the praise he receives. That may have been an easy interception, but it was nice to see Django, I mean Reed, make a direct imprint on this game.
— Fake field goal: I liked the call, but not the execution. The Ravens had the 49ers fooled enough to make the first down, but speed was not on their side on the play. That is usually the case when you call on your kicker to make the run. If they had a speed player run that play, then they would definitely have made it. That is why I would teach third string running backs how to be holders and if you want to do a fake kick, have that guy run it. It would work much better than having Justin Tucker trying to turn the corner on Patrick Willis. The call made sense and that was the type of play I said to expect with two brothers going head to head. All of the cards were on the table in this one. It’s too bad the 49ers were always down because it would have been fascinating to see what tricks Jim Harbaugh had up his sleeve.
— Jacoby Jones touchdown return: You know you are watching a great play when you see a player’s eyes bug out of his helmet as he watches himself run on the jumbotron. My favorite example of this is when Larry Fitzgerald did the same thing in the 2008 Super Bowl against the Steelers. Jones watched himself run back an extremely clutch return. That is one way to start the second half. Jones added some sprinkles on top of the return when he gave Ray Lewis the ultimate tribute: he did a perfect rendition of Lewis’ entrance dance for his TD celebration. You know he practiced that one in the mirror. That return gave the Ravens the necessary cushion they needed to maintain confidence throughout the game. And they want to get rid of kickoffs…Might as well get rid of defensive lines, while you are at it!
— Michael Crabtree going old school: You have to admit that watching Crabtree break those two tackles and score in the third quarter reminded you of his play against Texas while he was a member of Texas Tech.
— The Harbaugh handshake: I’m sorry, but I wanted a hug. You know, a little bit of compassion. They shook hands like they barely knew each other. I get that Jim had just lost and probably would have rather thrown down with John than hug him, but John should have led in with the hug. It’s just awkward for me to watch two brothers shake hands. That’s not how it should work. I hope someone lets them know that because next time they play, I will be expecting a hug. Yes, these are things I focus on.
— Ray Lewis: I expressed my true love for Lewis after I thought his career would be over after his tricep injury. Thanks to some hard work and PED’s, Lewis was back for the playoffs. That PED thing has kind of tainted him for me a tiny bit, but I can’t stop from loving this story. Ray Lewis retires as a Super Bowl champion. He leads his team to the win with a goal line stand. His infectious will led this team to another level. How many other players in sports history can do what Lewis did just by announcing retirement? It truly is amazing that this Ravens team did a complete 180 in the playoffs. But that is what Lewis is all about: accomplishing the impossible. Although this PED thing is going to darken the negative cloud above Lewis, we have to remember that there never has been a leader in sports history like him. He is the greatest middle linebacker of all time and he will be missed.
So, that was the Super Bowl as I saw it. It is sad that the NFL season is now over, but that just means that free agency and the NFL Draft are approaching us. And I’m sure you know by now that The Football Juice has you covered for all of the information you need about your teams during the offseason.